Why Do Dogs Hide Their Treats? Unveiling the Mystery

Have you ever wondered why your dog buries or hides treats? It’s a behavior that often leaves dog owners intrigued and curious. Rest assured, you’re not alone in pondering the motivations behind this peculiar behavior. In this article, we will unravel the mystery and explore the reasons why dogs hide their treats.

Dog looking at treat

From evolutionary instincts to territoriality and emotional comfort, there are several factors at play. By understanding the underlying reasons, you can gain valuable insights into your canine companion’s behavior and develop strategies to manage or prevent treat hiding.

So, let’s dig deeper into the fascinating world of canine behavior and discover why your dog has an instinctual urge to bury their treats.

Reasons Behind Why Dogs Hide Their Treats

  • The Evolutionary Origins of Treat Hiding: Dogs have inherited certain behaviors from their wild ancestors. In the wild, canines often bury food to save it for later when resources might be scarce. This instinctual behavior can still be observed in domesticated dogs today, as they have retained their ancestral survival strategies. So, when your dog buries their treat, they are simply following their instinctual nature.
  • Territoriality and Resource Protection: Dogs are naturally territorial animals. By hiding their treats, they are protecting their valuable resources from potential competitors, whether real or imagined. Treats hold a significant value for dogs, and associating them with security and ownership prompts them to safeguard their stash.
  • Emotional Comfort and Security: Treat hiding can also be a way for dogs to alleviate stress or anxiety. Dogs may engage in this behavior when they feel uncertain or overwhelmed, seeking comfort and security by burying their treats. The act of hiding the treat provides them with a sense of control and a safe haven.
  • Cognitive Abilities: Dogs possess remarkable cognitive abilities. When they hide their treats, they exercise their memory and problem-solving skills. Remembering the exact location of their hidden treasure and successfully retrieving it stimulates their mental capabilities.

How Can I Stop My Dog From Hiding Food or Treats?

  • Understanding and Accepting Natural Behavior: It’s important to recognize that treat hiding is a normal dog behavior. Instead of scolding or punishing your dog for this instinctual action, try to understand and accept it as part of their natural instincts.
  • Creating a Positive Feeding Environment: Establish a designated feeding area for your dog. This helps create a clear distinction between where they eat and where they bury their treats. Additionally, using puzzle toys or interactive feeders can engage your dog’s mind and provide a stimulating feeding experience.
  • Training and Conditioning Techniques: Teach your dog commands like “leave it” and “drop it” to redirect their behavior. Reward-based training is effective in reinforcing positive actions and can be used to encourage your dog to let go of the instinct to hide treats.
  • Providing Adequate Mental and Physical Stimulation: Ensure that your dog receives regular exercise and playtime to satisfy their physical and mental needs. Engaging in activities that stimulate their mind, such as puzzle toys or obedience training, can help channel their energy and reduce the urge to hide treats.


Is treat hiding a common behavior in all dogs?

While treat hiding can be observed in many dogs, not all dogs exhibit this behavior. It can vary based on individual temperament, breed tendencies, and environmental factors.

Can treat hiding be a sign of anxiety in dogs?

Yes, treat hiding can sometimes be linked to anxiety in dogs. Burying treats may provide them with a sense of security and comfort, helping to alleviate stress or uncertainty. If you suspect your dog is experiencing anxiety, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian or professional trainer for guidance.

Can I teach my dog to stop hiding treats on command?

With consistent training and positive reinforcement, you may be able to redirect your dog’s behavior. Commands like “leave it” and “drop it” can be helpful in teaching your dog to let go of treats and focus on other activities.

Should I discourage my dog from hiding treats?

It’s generally best to accept treat hiding as a natural behavior, as long as it doesn’t cause any issues or harm. However, if the behavior becomes excessive or problematic, you can redirect it through training techniques and environmental adjustments.


Understanding why dogs hide their treats provides valuable insights into their natural instincts and behaviors. While it may not be possible to completely eliminate this behavior, following the suggested tips can help manage and redirect it effectively.

By acknowledging their evolutionary roots, respecting their emotional needs, and providing appropriate outlets for mental and physical stimulation, you can create a harmonious environment where your furry friend can enjoy their treats without feeling the need to bury them.

Remember, patience, positive reinforcement, and a deep understanding of your dog are essential for fostering a loving and fulfilling bond with your canine companion.

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